Wilmington musicians hopeful for music venues to reopen

Live music in the time of COVID-19

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Life has been pretty different for us all through the coronavirus pandemic, but its been huge adjustment for people who work in the music industry.

Large gatherings like concerts have been cancelled since Governor Roy Cooper issued his stay at home order at the end of March. Most music venues are still closed and local musicians have fewer opportunities to perform.

“It’s been really a strange time for not only Wilmington but everywhere,” admitted singer Jason Schroer.

Schroer sings and plays the harmonica for the Jam Sandwich band. They’ve been playing in the area for more than 20 years.

Where he used to play four to five nights a week, Schroer says he’s averaging more like two nights a week now.

“Musically for a lot of people it’s taking a dive and for us it’s almost more therapeutic to play music now,” said the singer.

The sign outside Bourbon Street promises great food and live music, so it was only natural that they were quick to bring musicians back inside their doors.

“Since we opened back up we wanted to have live music since day one-- We haven’t been able to do it the way we want to you know we used to have these big huge bands coming in staying playing late until one or 2 o’clock in the morning but we’ve adapted,” said Bourbon Street General Manager Matt McBride.

People at Bourbon Street dance in their chairs now and the evening ends by 11 p.m., but everyone can agree they’re grateful to have been able to find a way to keep the music playing.

“You can just see the look on people’s faces, you know, when they do come out and see live music. It’s just as therapeutic for them as it is for us,” said Schroer.

The music scene may not look the same when businesses fully recover from the pandemic, but make no mistake, it’s not going anywhere. People need music now more than ever before.

“I hope we bounce back and I hope it makes the music scene better and stronger,” said Schroer.

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